Here are the spring football takeaways for Tallahassee-area high schools

Spring football is over as Big Bend programs begin summer training.

After the spring games, each regional program got a glimpse of what their team will look like in the fall. From big-scoring losses to continued development to impressive performances, the spring season gave teams a lot to look at.

These are our findings from the spring football session.

Strong performances by regional teams in spring set high standards for autumn

While one shouldn't put too much emphasis on spring performances, some games and players show what could be in store in the fall. For some teams in the region, their spring performances showed that they can have strong seasons in the fall.

Rickards was one of the standout players of the Leon County Jamboree, defeating Wakulla and Chiles on the first day of play. Quarterback Benjamin Henry threw four touchdowns for the Raiders and led an explosive offensive performance that turned heads.

No team scored more points than Gadsden County in spring practice games, as the Jaguers traveled to Pensacola's Booker.T Washington and won 70-0. The offensive outburst showcased the Jags' abilities both on the ground and in the air, as the team scored in just about every way imaginable, showing the potential for a potentially high-caliber offense in the fall.

Although neither Lincoln nor Godby produced the hoped-for duel on the second day of the Spring Jamboree, both programs gave a glimpse of what could be impressive campaigns next season.

The Trojans played strong defense, allowing very little in the air and on the ground against Leon. Lincoln is known for its strong defense and it looks like it will follow suit this fall. On offense, the Trojans dominated the running game, with running back Christain “Duece” Lawrence showing potential to be one of the shooting stars of the upcoming season, scoring two touchdowns in the limited playing time Lincoln got at the Jamboree.

The Cougars have new leadership, with head coach John Holston taking the helm, and Godby showed promise in the early stages of the Holston era. A stout defense allowed Leon to gain little ground on offense, and an impressive performance from running back Deymric Bently and wide receiver Jamarion Simmons led a revamped Cougars offense, scoring three touchdowns.

Big Bend area programs adapt to new trainers

Godby isn't the only school that started the spring under new leadership. Several other programs have also navigated the start of a new era with new coaches, while others are still looking for the next person to lead their program.

Taylor County brought Jesse Braswell, a former student, home from Georgia, giving him his first head coaching role. The Bulldogs got their first taste of Braswell's playing time in the spring game, picking up a win over Mayo. Taylor County showed what the future of the program could look like under Braswell. Senior DJ McCoy scored three touchdowns, one throwing, one running and one catching.

The next team to begin its new era is just down Meridian Road, as North Florida Christian was founded under Johnny Nichols. With the departure of Brent Hill, Nichols takes over the regional champions as the Eagles look to make it to the end of the playoffs again and be on the state champions list for another year.

Both FAMU DRS and Jefferson County continue to search for an official successor to the head coaching position as the programs went through the spring with an eye toward the fall. Willie Ferrell has served as interim coach for the young Rattlers since the departure of Alex Williams last season. Jefferson County is still searching for a coach to succeed Lenorris Footman, who resigned from the post before the start of spring football.

Bill Ragans may not be new to the Chiles, but his title as head coach is. After serving as interim coach last season, finishing 6-4 and narrowly missing the playoffs, Ragans was promoted to head coach and begins his first official season as coach of the Timberwolves. Ragans' team lost 2-0 to Wakulla and Rickards, but the new head coach said he was optimistic about what the summer would bring for his team.

Regional programs face roster changes and challenging spring games

Football was played throughout Madison County, Florida High and Wakulla last season well into November. The Cowboys made it to the 1R state championship game, but lost to Hawthorne.

While the Big Bend powers will look to return to the later stages of the playoffs, the spring games have been challenging for the programs.

For Madison County, the loss to Oakleaf was the defining spring contest, but despite the loss, the state runners-up still had enough time to develop their young squad and enter the new year without their graduating class of 2024. In their third year under head coach Price Harris, the Cowboys will rely on players like Kemari Scurry, Sean Williams, Ryshard Miller and Jason McDaniel to lead the charge back to the state championship game.

Florida High participated in a three-team jamboree, facing off against Choctawhatchee and Mosley. While the Seminoles left with a loss to the Dolphins, a better performance against the Indians showed just how promising the young team is. After losing a great class of seniors that helped make the past few seasons so successful, the Seminoles are looking to the future and their next stars to lead the way in Southwood.

Wakulla is in a similar situation to Florida High, having lost a strong graduating class and now looking to the future of the program. The War Eagles went 1-1 at the Leon County Spring Jamboree, beating Chiles and losing to Rickards. Head coach Scott Klees saw his son, Owen Klees, step into the starting quarterback role after Haden Klees graduated.

Continued development and growth give regional programs a glimpse into the fall

Maclay will begin the 2024 season in Ireland, but the Marauders had to survive the spring before heading to the Emerald Isle. A Blue vs. White practice game gave the Marauders a taste of what the team will look like in 2024. Maclay is entering his third year under Jason Cauley and will be looking to secure another playoff spot this fall, starting with his first regular season game in Dublin, Ireland.

Munroe is entering his second year under Michael Gaines, and after a 1-9 season, the Bobcats are looking to become a force again. Just two years removed from their Final Four run under Russell Ellington, Gaines has spent the spring hoping to turn the Bobcats back into one of the region's top teams.

Aucilla Christian is coming off one of its program's best seasons, reaching the regional semifinals and finishing the season 9-2. Heading into the spring with their roster restructured and losing key seniors like Tucker Wiles and Eli Conrad, the Warriors looked to their next class of players to find their next star duo.

Leon and JPII part ways with their coaches after spring

This spring, an era came to an end for two area coaches as Tyrone McGriff of Leon and Tremaine Hughes of St. John Paul II left their respective programs.

McGriff spent two seasons with the Lions and finished his tenure by leading the Lions to their first winning season since 2016 with a 6-4 record. Leon was McGriff's first head coaching role and he achieved a 7-13 record with the Lions during that time. William Mosley was named interim coach for Leon.

Hughes leaves JPII after one season, after going 5-7 and leading the Panthers to the 1S Regional final, where they lost to NFC 21-14. He replaced Ed Hill as coach. The Panthers are still searching for the program's next head coach.

Liam Rooney covers sports prep for the Tallahassee Democrat. Reach him via email at or on Twitter at @__liamroonej

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